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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

State Measures on Health System Performance: We're #8

State Measures on Health System Performance: We're #8

June 13, 2007

First rate study released today by the Commonwealth Fund: Aiming Higher: Results from a State Scorecard on Health System Performance. Compares all 50 states on 2003-2005 date on access, quality, healthy lives, equity, and avoidable hospital use and cost. Click here for the report overview. Here's the part we love the best:

Across states, better access to care and higher rates of insurance are closely associated with better quality (Exhibit 3). States with the lowest rates of uninsured residents tend to score highest on measures of preventive and chronic disease care, as well as other quality indicators.

Four of the five leading states in the access dimension—Massachusetts, Iowa, Rhode Island, and Maine—also rank among the top five states in terms of quality. Moreover, states with low quality rankings tend to have high rates of uninsured. This cross-state pattern points to the importance of affordable access as a first step to ensure that patients obtain essential care and receive care that is well coordinated and patient-centered. In states where more people are insured, adults and children are more likely to have a medical home and receive recommended preventive and chronic care. Identifying care system practices as well as state policies that promote access to care is essential to improving quality and lowering costs.

Access and quality -- it's not one or the other. They are two sides of the same coin. Better on one, much more likely to be better on the other.

Massachusetts -- we're number 8. Click here for the MA report.

Access: #2
Quality: #3
Equity: #1
Hospital Use and Costs: #35
Healthy Lives: #20

Room for satisfaction and pride. Room for improvement. Worth remembering -- data is from 2003-2005. If it were data from today, we would 100% surely be #1 on access, and probably better on quality.

Got to focus on costs, got to focus on healthy lives and public health.